Former fan favorite is Dallas Mavericks' final piece for title quest

Dennis Smith Jr.
Dennis Smith Jr. / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

Monday, July 1, was quite the eventful day for the Dallas Mavericks, as the Mavericks brought in perhaps the most highly-touted free agent in franchise history by signing and trading for Klay Thompson. While Dallas has lost a few key role players throughout this recent stretch, they’ve added more versatility, defense, and shooting with the likes of Naji Marshall, Quentin Grimes, and Thompson.

These recent moves by the Mavericks have thrust them right back into the contender sphere, as Dallas knew they were going to need to upgrade handily after plenty of Western Conference playoff teams bolstered their rosters in recent days. 

Nico Harrison and Dallas’ front office are constructing this new roster very meticulously and timely, as past Dallas front office regimes may have balked at Derrick Jones Jr.’s agency change and would have been hesitant to make moves while other free agents are in the process of falling off the board, but Dallas signed Marshall and a four-time champion in Thompson before free agency was even fully open for 24 hours. 

Mavericks should sign Dennis Smith Jr. to help win NBA Finals next year

After sending out Josh Green in the sign-and-trade for Thompson, Dallas still has one remaining roster spot available heading into next season, and the Mavericks have roughly $4 million of their non-taxpayer MLE left to work with since they stayed below the first apron after all of their recent moves. Many fans are pining for another ball handler to sure up the Mavericks’ rotation with Dallas’ last chunk of change, as Dallas doesn’t necessarily have a tried-and-true point guard to run their offense off the bench despite their immense depth, so perhaps an old familiar face could be of use to this Mavericks team. 

Former Maverick Theo Pinson recently hinted on X that he thinks Dallas needs one more piece to elevate their roster to the next level, and with fan speculation swirling, many fans have guessed that Pinson could be alluding to former Maverick Dennis Smith Jr. 

Smith Jr. has been open about his willingness to rejoin the Mavericks if the opportunity presents itself throughout the last couple of seasons, and the 26-year-old could bring a solid blend of athleticism, shot creation, and point-of-attack defense off the bench for Dallas if the Mavericks are able to sign him with the rest of their MLE money. 

With Jones Jr. and Green gone, a player of Smith Jr.’s caliber could be extremely useful for Dallas in select situations, as the Mavericks need an infusion of defense and athleticism at the guard position after their roster reconstruction this free agency. 

Smith Jr. may have never evolved into the shooter that Mavericks fans wanted him to become when Dallas selected him ninth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, but the former Maverick is an even better defender now and has matured in terms of his willingness to buy into a role that doesn’t see him as the primary ball handler.

For more on the Dallas Mavericks during this free agency, stay tuned as we will have you covered.